14th September 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Stone bemoans ‘diabolical’ putting at Arabella
Kevin Stone made his first start on the Sunshine Tour after a long period of absence and despite shooting an opening round of nine-over-par 81 at the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Arabella Country Club, he was still pleased with his iron-play on Friday.
Starting off in the morning when the weather was not as kind, and with the wind and showers of rain conspiring to make life difficult for any golfer, Stone had his work cut out for him and as a result, only a lonesome birdie made it onto his card.
“It was a very strange day,” said Stone immediately after his round, “I played pretty neat but I hit my all-time record of 41 putts for 18 holes, which is, to be honest, 12 putts more than what you should have. But, I hit my irons pretty well and I think I only missed three greens the whole day. There were good signs and bad signs. I’m not thrilled but it could’ve been worse.”
Indeed, it could have been much worse for the veteran because while he showed glimpses of his younger self with the driver and the irons, it was on the greens where the real struggle was. He turned in 41 and while making his only birdie on the 15th, his struggle continued so that he signs for 81.
“I drove the ball pretty well,” he noted, “I think I missed three or four fairways in that wind, which is pretty good, but the putting was, to be nice, diabolical.”
With the weather conditions not making things easy in Kleinmond, an experienced campaigner like Stone, struggling as he was, isn’t one to be fazed easily.
“It’s a mission here,” Stone said, “there’s a lot of holes where you just hit irons and others you will have to hit driver. It’s difficult because a lot of the time the wind blows to you from off the sides, and especially if the wind blows into your left, it’s a tough tee shot if you’re a right-handed golfer. You really need to know the golf course when you’re playing in these conditions, it always helps. I think the scores should be pretty decent.”
Whatever his results in Kleinmond this week, Stone, whose son Brandon, opened with a 71 at Arabella, will go into next month’s SA Senior Open in Plettenberg Bay with a clear indication of where his game is at and where he must improve.